Dear Friends,

I am very sorry that I cannot be with you today for your rally, as I am out of Dublin for work reasons.

I continue to support the demand that there must be full freedom for supporters of Falun Gong and other beliefs to express their views freely in China and to peacefully practice their beliefs.

It is an outrageous assault on human right and human dignity that members of the Falun Gong should be persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and even killed in China. I have called on a number of occasions on the Irish Government to protest strongly over this abuse of civil rights. I have recently called on the Minister for Foreign Affairs to make representations on behalf of Mr. Liu Feng and Ms. Yang Fang. We must keep up the pressure until these two people are allowed their freedom, including the freedom to leave China and come to Ireland if that is their wish.

As a member of the Socialist Party in Ireland, I want to emphasize that persecution of people for their beliefs is absolutely opposed to the ideas and spirit of genuine democratic socialism. We stand for the right of all peoples to be able to freely express their culture, their traditions and their beliefs and to practice their religion freely.

I will continue to work in support of the demand of full civil rights in China for all those who have a different point of view from the current regime.

Joe Higgins T.D.